Assassin’s Creed – A game that was a revolution back in 2007 (2006?) has now become a joke gamers like to bundle in along with there myriad of Call of Duty jokes. It’s become expected that every year, around the holiday season, we would get our annual fill of playing as a hooded vigilante, assassinating chubby bearded men in epic historical settings. However, it seems that’s not going to be the case this year around. On a thread on 4Chan, a self-proclaimed, unidentified developer at Ubisoft stated the following:
…There won’t be an AC in 2016. You may screencap this and refer to it when nothing is shown in E3 2016. You’ll have to wait until 2017 for it. The reason: It will be a complete revamp of the series. The game is going for a Witcher feel, with player progression, freeform combat system. Horse is back, and boats too. It’s made by the Black Flag team….
The person goes on to say that the game will most likely be set in Egypt and is currently codenamed “Empire.” Now you may think that this may just be some 12 year old pretending to be a developer, but when reading through the whole thread, whoever this person is, seems to be legit. He/she answered all of the questions directed towards them quite thoroughly, and would admit when they weren’t sure of specific aspects of certain things. So if we were to take what this person is saying to be true, then let me be one of the first people to say this,
Listen, I love me some Assassin’s Creed. I was blown away by the first game, and even more blown away by the second, which still holds as one of my favourite games of all time. But when I saw that Ubisoft were shooting these games out like one would after a fifty dollar meal at Taco Bell, I began to question and become concerned. Assassin’s Creed is and never was a game that was meant to be annualized. It has depth, and is intricate. At least it was. You play through the second game and you not only see but feel how detailed this world, these characters, truly are. And though Brotherhood was still not bad, the franchise plummeted afterwards. Yes, yes, Black Flag was good, but still didn’t compare to the first games. And moreover, I feel most people enjoyed that game more because it was a completely new environment, with ships. It felt fresh to be in a new setting. But if you really look at it, was the gameplay better? Then you have these new games, Unity and Synidicate, of which the former I won’t even mention and the latter cannot comment on because it was a game that completely went over my head. As an avid fan of the series, I too became that person when Syndicate was announced that went, “meh, it’s just another Assassin’s Creed game.” I feel that Ubisoft in these recent iterations forgot what made the Assassin’s franchise special. It simply became about “filling in” the map with as much “stuff” as possible and disguising it as “real” content. And each of those side-quests, challenges, and collection missions not only became tedious, but annoying at a certain point. They were not “fun” to do. The first couple games don’t have nearly as much “content” than these newer ones; but you still felt a connection with the game and the cities you were exploring. Each side-quest still had a motive/narrative behind it, and so it compelled you to do all of it.
So when this self-proclaimed developer mentions that they’re taking notes from The Witcher 3, it gives me great pleasure in hearing that. Because that is a game that is the perfect example of how to do a dense open world. In fact, it’s too dense. And not only with side-quests and challenges, but with side-quests and challenges that each have their own narrative, that could even possibly open up and expand into a full on story in itself. And there are hundred of these. And what’s ridiculous is that each side-quest has an interesting character with interesting backstories that draws you in and compel you to finish the mission. It’s not just, “collect 100 feathers to….well just do it.”
This Franchise Shouldn’t Have Been Annualized In The First Place
Ubisoft needs this time. Like I mentioned, this is not a franchise that was ever supposed to be annualized. Call of Duty, NBA, Fifa – These are games that can be annualized because the type of games that they are, allows them to be so. When fans buy those games each and every year, like I do with NBA, we know what we’re getting. Better graphics, tweaked gameplay, a few new modes, a few new features, and that’s it. To many of you that may not be worth the 60 bones, and I get it, but I also get why for many it may be. You can get hundreds of hours out of those games. But that’s not the case with Assassin’s Creed. This is a game that, from it’s core, is based around it’s historical narrative. A game like that needs time. I don’t care if you’re a massive developer like Ubisoft, but a year to make a whole new game from scratch, with all new characters, and a completely new open world, is crazy. Not to say that the development of a COD game is any less hard work, but they have a basic framework to go off of.
I don’t want to preach along the choir that bashes against AC, and so if this report is true and we actually don’t get an AC game this year, then I’m quite happy to be honest. I want Ubisoft to take this time. They need it. They need to figure out what this franchise was and what made it stand out instead of be forgotten as is the current case. Maybe we as gamers have gotten greedy and so that initial spark we saw in the first two games, we’ve gotten in other games multiple times afterwards, and now are in need of something new.
Whatever the case, this short hiatus for Ubisoft brings me hope for the future of Assassin’s Creed.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!